Despite the recent setbacks with tools, over the bank holiday I ran a one-to-one workshop for Mike Carswell on making wooden rakes. This was hosted by Edward & Romola in the wonderfully inspiring Sprint Mill workshop.
Mike has just completed a 3 year coppice apprenticeship through the Bill Hogarth Memorial Apprenticeship scheme and now has his own business working the woods around Greater Manchester. He regularly cuts coppice ash and asked me to run a private course for him on using this for making rakes.
The pictures tell the process:
Through the day I wanted to impress on Mike the care and attention to detail that would result in a well-balanced, functional tool. A straight stail (handle), even bends in the two halves of the split and carefully shaved and drilled head give a tool that is fit for work.
At times the stringy nature of the tough mancunian ash made the work more tricky but should lead to a very durable product. It was a full, busy day and Mike was surprised by how much is involved in making such a simple-looking item. I was really pleased with Mike’s work and he went home a happy man with a fine rake.